Windows 10: Hypervisors and Motherboard Support
Hypervisors and Motherboard Support
I am building a new server at home that will be a hypervisor, most likely Hyper-V Server 2016. There's a chance I'll run ESXi 6.0, but for now, it will likely be the Microsoft equivalent.
I have two potential boards that I'll pair with my i7-2600 and the 32 GB of memory I have. Which one would you choose? I am leaning towards the Intel board, thinking I'd have better driver support.
Stay far away from using Intel *DESKTOP* boards for server functions. Intel is very bad about supporting them in server conditions, and don't generally provide drivers for server OS's. I've never use that particular board, but it's just a rule I now use after being burned by Intel several times.
Use the Gigabyte.
Last edited by Mystere; 01 Dec 2016 at 09:37.
+1 on the Gigabyte board.
On another note, if htere is a possibility you may attempt to run ESXi on the machine, you may run in to trouble with the network interfaces built in to a lot of motherboards. ESXi has support for a ton of high end NIC's, but the typical broadcom NIC provided by many MB manufacturers doesn't get a lot of love from VMware.
If you try it and run into issues with the network not initializing it is likely due to no driver support for the interface. This is where, in my opinion, Intel really shines. I have had nothing but excellent results using Intel network interfaces over the years. Lately I have been using the I350-T2 and I350-T4 with excellent results in ESXi servers. Perhaps a bit more than other NIC's out there, but the trouble free operations and excellent native support across many software platforms is worth that extra cost to me.
Dave M said:
another + for Gigabyte boards for servers --if this was a desktop system I'd go for INTEL but for servers use Gigabyte.
INTEL Mobos will be fine though if you want 100% certainty the LAN interfaces work -- No NIC's then ESXI gives up the ghost. Don't even THINK of Wifi for your main NIC !!! it won't work (or I could never get it to work).
You really need at least 2 NIC interfaces on your Mobo though.
Esxi as stated is VERY picky over NIC interfaces --also a DUAL CPU would be better --if you can find them XEON's are great -- depending on the slots your MOBO has.
You also want to ensure CPU supports HYPERTHREADING for decent performance too - depending on the amount of load on your VM's.
For hardware compatibilty with ESXI there's a "White Box" list - this is where people have used non standard (by VMWARE's criteria) hardware and what works and doesn't work.
My Howtos and Projects: VMWare WhiteBox - Desktop and ESXi Server all in One PC
Actually as an experiment you can run ESXI as a VM itself and then install a VM on the virtual ESXI machine while testing --with a decent CPU (or dual CPU's) response time isn't too bad.
Esxi will also boot from external USB stick -- it's a tiny OS - so once booted you can remove the USB stick - another good way of testing without touching your Windows installation. !!
I've tested on an HP Proliant Gen 8 microserver - system boots from a micro SD card on the mobo - but HP have all the drivers so it works just fine. I added a Nvidia half height graphics card for the VM's and you need a faster processor than the standard one - but these servers are really cheap and you can add 4 HDD's with built in RAID controller. I added an SSD to the place where a DVD would normally go (who needs a DVD on the server) and by creating a separate single RAID 0 device for the SSD it can also boot as well if I want to boot another OS such as Windows. Windows 10 runs on it (HP's RAID driver from W2008 / W2012 server works just fine). It also has 2 HP NIC's which work completely straight OOTB.
GET THE FASTEST HDD's your Mobo can support -- if not using SSD's then ensure your HDD's have at least 7200RPM and the largest cache possible. Cheap slow HDD's will KILL any system whatever power graphics and CPU you use.
This article is also interesting
VMware Front Experience: ESXi 6.5 Release Notes for free license and white box users
It's quite fun playing with this stuff -- expect a bit of "Trial and error" though to get everything working. I found configuring the NIC's the hardest bit -- without those nothing else will work though !!!!!.
Last edited by jimbo45; 01 Dec 2016 at 08:33.
I was thinking of using a PCI-E dual port NIC in either configuration. Thank you for all the info. Looks like I'll be using the Gigabyte board. I've had great luck with them personally, ever since Abit went belly-up.
I have been searching trying to find if this motherboard supports Windows 10...if anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate it.
Motherboad Gigabyte P55A-UD4P
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